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Executive Updates

Executive Updates from
Dr. Byington

September 2017: Health Science Center Executive Update



It's a relief that you all have returned to our campuses, and my thoughts and prayers continue for those affected by Hurricane Harvey. I am so grateful for the outpouring of support for our students, faculty, and staff from across Texas. Please remember the Health Science Center Harvey Relief Fund. We will use these resources to help our students, staff, and faculty members with short-term financial assistance to aid in their recovery post-Harvey.

The Texas A&M community's response to this devastating storm has been inspiring. I am so proud of those who, in the midst of Harvey, have volunteered their time, resources or expertise to help those in need. You are wholeheartedly fulfilling our Aggie core value of selfless service. To see a recap of all the great efforts of our faculty, staff and students, please visit Vital Record.

To each of you, thank you for your hard work and tireless commitment during these difficult times. I very much look forward to the rich and rewarding fall semester with this talented, dedicated community, and wish to take this opportunity to share several updates:

"What If" brand campaign launches:
Potential is a word that has driven me from my earliest days. It is the unlimited potential that I see in this academic health center that brought me back to Aggieland, where faculty, staff and students, joined through shared Aggie values, are empowered to try to accomplish what others think is impossible. While many institutions across the nation are trying to transform health care, I believe Aggies can actually do it by building on our strong traditions, our commitment to excellence and our spirit of innovation. Together, we will find solutions to the seemingly impossible questions facing health and health care delivery today. We are, simply put, Making "What If" Possible.

This month, we embark on a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive branding campaign for the Health Science Center- Making What If Possible. As part of the university's national reputation campaign, Making What If Possible will result in greater awareness of Texas A&M as a key contributor in fearlessly addressing the greatest health challenges of the state of Texas and the nation. Through a wide range of multiple influential digital magazines and newspapers, as well as video and social media, the Making What If Possible campaign will put the Texas A&M health enterprise front and center across the state of Texas.

The new campaign is a bold initiative that I am confident will position the Health Science Center and our colleges as leaders who will stop at nothing to make a difference. Whether addressing health disparities in rural populations, cultivating an environment that supports our military, veterans and their families, or innovating cutting-edge solutions using our expertise in medicine and engineering to improve health, we are on the forefront of every human need. I look forward to sharing, throughout this campaign, the great ways our faculty, staff and students are making the impossible, possible. Stay tuned for more to come on the Making What If Possible campaign in the coming weeks.

Texas A&M celebrates Women in Medicine Month:
The American Medical Association designates September "Women in Medicine Month." It's a great opportunity for us to recognize contributions of the female researchers, physicians and current and former students who make a difference through their contributions to patients and communities across the state, nation and world. Since arriving at Texas A&M, I have had the honor of meeting many women who are making this campus a vibrant center for learning, and I'm honored to join with you all in showcasing their achievements. I encourage you to watch Vital Record for stories about some of the institution's leading women in medicine. Help us recognize others who are making exceptional contributions to medicine by nominating faculty, staff, and current and former students to be highlighted during our month-long campaign. You may also consider sharing your appreciation and gratitude for the service of our health care professionals via social media with the hashtag #WIMmonth.

State Employee Charitable Campaign now live:
As was mentioned in an earlier announcement, the State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC) is now live and will run through October 31. I encourage you to join me in contributing to SECC 2017, and thus improving the quality of life for communities across the state and beyond. I would like to note that there are a few agencies affiliated with the Health Science Center who will have greater needs in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Health For All (250009) and the Prenatal Clinic (250013) both anticipate an increase in patients as storm victims relocate. Another way to support Hurricane Harvey victims is to give to the United Way Brazos Valley (250000), which is assisting with the sheltering and transportation efforts for evacuees placed in the Brazos Valley.

Health Science Center faculty awarded more than $8.6 million from CPRIT:
The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) recently awarded grants totaling more than $8.6 million to faculty members at the Health Science Center. Six total grants were awarded to faculty in the College of Medicine-four to faculty in the college's Institute of Biosciences and Technology in Houston-many of which include interprofessional collaborations with faculty across the institution, including the College of Dentistry and School of Public Health. I am grateful for the ongoing support from CPRIT as we continue searching for ways to prevent and cure the second-leading cause of death in the state.

College of Nursing names interim dean:
I am pleased to share with you all that Regina Bentley, EdD, RN, CNE, has been named interim dean of the College of Nursing. Dr. Wilkerson announced her intention to step down as dean earlier this summer and completed her term in August. The search for a permanent dean of the college is underway, chaired by Dr. Joyce Alexander, professor and dean, College of Education and Human Development. For information on the search process, please refer to the search website.

Texas A&M becomes a living lab for workplace health:
In a study launched last week, the School of Public Health will utilize Texas A&M employees as "test subjects" to learn how to improve workplace environments. Led by the Ergonomics Center, researchers have recruited employees in the Department of Student Activities to see if standing desks and software prompts that remind employees to sit or stand throughout the day can improve not just their health, but their productivity, too. I'm proud of the university for investing in employee health, while also encouraging greater productivity among faculty and staff. It's exciting to see research come to life right here in our own A&M community.

Army educates residents at Texas A&M College of Dentistry:
Interestingly, when the U.S. Army decides to educate a pediatric dentist to serve the children of military families, they always use the Texas A&M College of Dentistry as their training site. When the college first began training residents for the Army in the early 1980s, it was one of several sites around the country, but now, it's the only one for pediatric dentistry. Symbolic, given Texas A&M University was established by the Morrill Act, which required all students to participate in military training for nearly a century. The college recently celebrated the promotion of one such resident, Christopher Luevano, DDS, who was promoted to U.S. Army major. Congrats, Maj. Luevano; we appreciate your service!

In closing, thank you for all you do to make the Health Science Center a success and an institution that adds value to those we serve. I am honored to be part of such a remarkable community, and I look forward to the semester ahead. For real-time updates, please follow me on Twitter @carrie_byington and visit the Vital Record news site.

With warmest wishes,
Carrie L. Byington, MD